Oh yeah, it all started with a crazy plan to find Fenris’ father! Probably because that’s the one family member we never hear about in canon, so I guess I was curious and decided to answer my own questions. 🙂 Actually, at first I had planned that storyline separate from the red lyrium warriors, so part 4 was going to involve Fenris wanting to find out who his father was and thinking he might get Dorian to help track him down, then talking himself out of it and not even asking, but then Hawke would ask him for help anyway and Dorian would write letters and…honestly it was not much of a plot, was it? And then I realized the vague “Venatori are making warriors with Fenris-style markings but with red lyrium” plot could be combined with the father-searching and that was the seed that grew into Warriors Such As.
So then I was brainstorming for what sort of a person Fenris’ father could be, and all I really knew was I wanted him to be a mage (because Varania, and also irony), and he had to be an elf given Dragon Age’s version of half-elves being human to all appearances, so Fenris couldn’t have been fathered by a human; and there was a long list of rejected names and dithering over whether he had been a fellow slave or (because mage) a laetan (or even altus, if elves can be) and whether he’d willingly abandoned Fenris’ mother and the kids or whether Fenris and Varania even had the same father…
Honestly there were so many ways that could have gone wrong. I’m rather glad he turned out as he did. A lot of his character is meant to be a foil to Fenris, really; gentle where Fenris is brash; cheerful where Fenris is broody; but also his response to, and way of dealing with, the trauma he’s endured is meant for a contrast. (Yet another reason why I think I’m going to have to write out his and Mara’s backstory in more detail now…)
Survey: Is there interest in reading fic about young!Metis and Mara, their childhood, their romance, their separate paths through slavery?
Because writing Ave atque Vale kindled a lot of feels and I’m still thinking about those two and their kids. I’ve been thinking about the details of their back story for a while now, but yesterday I sat down to type up a more orderly timeline of the scenes I’d come up with and it was 5 pages, so…yeah, I have a lot of thoughts on this star crossed family. Would people read it if I actually wrote a series about them, considering there’d be minimal Fenris or other canonical characters in it? Or should I stick to going forward with Metis’ story after Warriors Such As?
So a while ago, in Warriors Such As, there was a passage where Metis, ever the gardener or nature-mage or whatever we shall call it, distracts himself from the lyrium calling to him by mentally reciting an old nursery-rhyme of sorts, a catalog poem of herb-lore, plants and their properties. Rhyming lines about Thedosian plants may be one of the quirkiest things I’ve written yet for fanfic (um, or any project; this may be quirkier even than the chapters I wrote of Latin stories for my previous school’s curriculum which were sort of textbook fanfiction…), and I loved how the snippets of that poem turned out. So my new project, sneak peek of which you see above, is Metis’ Book of Herbs, a collection of sketches of the plants to go with the poem. I’m happy enough with these first two to post them, but the Dragonthorn one turned out a little wonky trying to fit its two lines of the poem into the picture so I’ll probably redo it when I am done with the rest of the plants.
Actually I may have to write more of the poem now and draw all the Dragon Age plants. Because it’s years since I did any proper sketching and getting the likeness of a plant right is much less intimidating than of a person. 🙂
This story in the Hawkquisition timeline is now complete! Thanks for sticking with me through such an adventure.
Fenris was once told that even in the Imperium, warriors with markings of his sort were rare – with the implication that he is not unique. When the Inquisition hears of Venatori creating warriors marked like Fenris, but with red lyrium, Hawke may have to take her turn being the one left behind while Fenris travels into danger to help the Inquisitor investigate.
Comments and reblogs are always appreciated! I love seeing what you think of each chapter, what parts you liked or want to respond to, or even just a note if you enjoyed it!
Part 4: Warriors Such As Chapter 21 Wherein Merrill works a
The Champion of Kirkwall was certainly free with her affections.
Her claim on Fenris’ heart was evident from the never-broken flow of touches,
Metis thought as he watched them approach where he sat in the garden the
morning after their return to Skyhold. She walked at his side, close enough to
brush shoulders, and he leaned over to brush a kiss to her hair. She took his
hand, while he balanced Malcolm against his hip with the other, and he twined
his fingers with hers. When her arm slipped around his waist, his went to her
shoulder, drawing her in closer. To say that they could not keep their hands
off each other would imply the desperation of a younger relationship, still
working out the details. This seemed a union whose details were worked out to
the point that they fit so neatly into one another’s space as to seem
incomplete without those touches of reassurance: You’re still here? Good. So
Hawke’s presence brought smiles to Fenris’ face more regularly
than at any time since Metis had met him. He lit up at her touch; sometimes,
even literally, his markings giving off a faint glow. Metis sighed as he looked
down at his own markings. They hurt, still; their song was an ever present
danger; they might just kill him, if they could not be cleansed soon. But to
see his son smile like this, he regretted none of it.
“Good morning!” he greeted them, as they joined him on his bench.
Malcolm slipped from his father’s lap to the ground but kept a hand on Fenris’
knee, the other fist in his mouth as he stood there, staring up at Metis. He
winked at the child, and Malcolm pulled back slightly, pressing himself against
Fenris’ leg, but a smile tugged at the boy’s face behind his fist.
“Sleep well?” Lisbet asked, brushing her fingers through Malcolm’s
curly hair from Fenris’ other side.
“As well as may be expected,” Metis answered. “It is…more
difficult, at night, ignoring the lyrium.”
Fenris looked aghast. “But you’ve been able to resist it so far.”
“Yes, but that’s easier to do in the daylight, with plenty of
distractions. Oh, don’t look at me like that, Fenris. I’ve managed; but I will
be glad if this friend of yours really can cleanse the lyrium and tame its
“She can,” Lisbet beamed. “I’m sure of it. Reasonably sure.
Emmen’s made a full recovery.”
“Metis’ markings are different from the red lyrium that infected
Emmen,” Fenris cautioned.
“It will still work, darling,” Lisbet insisted. “You know
how Dagna is when a project challenges her. And Merrill is…well, she’s
practically giddy at the chance to help. They’re ready to begin today, Metis,
if you wish.”
“No time like the present,” he smiled. “I am eager to see what
miracles they have prepared.”
The Undercroft was crowded already that morning when Metis arrived
with his family. The three of them (plus one toddler) emerged from the stairway
to find three elves already conferring with Dagna. Without their usual white
paint, it took Metis a moment to recognize the tiny woman, her arms crossed
over her chest instead of drawing a bow, peppering the cheerful dwarf Arcanist
“Caligo!” he blurted, upon recalling the name of the archer who
had shown them the entrance to Ath Velanis. The Fog Warrior looked up, smiling
when she saw him. “I…did not expect to see you here,” Metis said.
“We came on the second ship,” she explained, nodding to her
companions. “These are my…” she glanced between them. “This is Aeris. And this
is Nubis. He…The Inquisitor offered help at Skyhold, so we decided to come.”
“Nubis,” Metis repeated, taking in the elf standing quietly at
Caligo’s side, with his dark hair and pale eyes. And the faint red lines, just
showing above the collar of his shirt. “Oh. Oh. You’re the one…”
“They tell me you,” said Nubis, nodding to Metis’ left hand
with its matching lines, “are the reason I didn’t have to go through more of…”
“Yes,” Metis quickly interposed. “We’re here for the same purpose,
then, I take it?”
“If,” Caligo said, turning the full force of her stare back on
Dagna again, “you really can cure him?”
“It’s not a cure,” Dagna said, with the air of one launching into
an oft-repeated speech. “It’s more of a cleansing process. Based on Fenris’
markings, we think the lyrium is a symbiote and to remove it entirely would
probably cause more problems than it would solve. But we should be able to
cleanse it and leave you with just the pure lyrium, stable enough to maintain
the symbiotic relationship for…”
“Oh hello!” said a voice bursting brightly in on them from the
stairs. They all turned to see Merrill scurrying in, fists full of leaves. “I’m
late, aren’t I? I’m so sorry. I know we meant to begin this morning but I
nearly forgot about the embrium. Oh, Malcolm! Hello, da’len,” she said, bending
down as the boy reached for her neck, chanting, “Up! Up, Mimi!”
“‘Mimi’?” Fenris arched an eyebrow wryly at the Dalish mage as she
somehow managed to heft the boy up in her arms without dropping any of her
fistfuls of embrium.
“He can’t say ‘Merrill’ yet,” Lisbet explained. “Considering that
he doesn’t say ‘Mum’ yet either, I’m a bit jealous that Merrill gets a baby
“He calls you Hawke,” Fenris smirked.
“Hah?” said Malcolm, glancing around at the sound of her name.
Lisbet sighed. “Come here, dumpling, and let Aunt Mimi get to
It was not, by far, the work of a single morning. The procedure
that Merrill and Dagna had devised between them was slow and painstaking,
working at the red lyrium bit by bit to remove its taint and leave behind the
pure white lines. Avoiding blood magic, Merrill went through vast amounts of
lyrium to maintain the power required to banish the corruption. Most days,
Fenris stood a grim watch over the whole process, while Hawke kept Malcolm busy
far away from the Undercroft so as not to disturb Aunt Mimi’s work. Carver was
a constant visitor as well, bringing lyrium from the storerooms when Merrill’s
supply ran low and coaxing her to take a break when the empty lyrium bottles
piled up. Wary of the danger to a mage consuming so many lyrium potions in a
short time, they took the work slowly, a few cautious hours a day.
A month went by while Metis and Nubis took their turns under
Merrill’s ministrations, the red gradually fading from their brands, until one
day, as Metis sat down to dinner in the great hall alongside his son, small
fingers tugged at his left wrist and he looked down to see Malcolm’s curious
green eyes on him.
“Da?” the boy said, looking between the faded, nearly-all-white
markings on Metis’ hand and the similar patterns adorning Fenris beside him.
“Ah…no, little one,” Metis chuckled, opening his palm so that
Malcolm could trace the white lines on it. “I am your Da’s Da, though.”
Lisbet, across the table, giggled. “Malcolm, Metis is your grandfather.
He looks a little like your Da, see? Even apart from the markings.”
“And the markings are in no way a part of the family resemblance,”
Fenris rolled his eyes.
“Absolutely not,” nodded Lisbet, “so don’t go getting ideas about
running off to get a tattoo when you’re a few years older, pup.”
“Da!” Malcolm insisted, looking up at Metis again.
“He doesn’t know what to call you,” Lisbet chuckled.
“‘Grandfather’ is a burden for such a small tongue,” Metis nodded
solemnly down at the boy.
“Can you say ‘Grandpa’, Malcolm?” Lisbet asked.
“He can barely say ‘Hawke’,” Fenris pointed out.
“Not for lack of trying.” Lisbet wrinkled her nose at him and then
turned back to the boy. “Metis is your Grandpa, love. Grand. Pa.”
Malcolm considered this for a long moment, squeezing at his
grandfather’s arm and pursing his lips, before he finally said, “Pa?”
“Close enough,” Fenris grinned.
“Pa!” Malcolm said again, reaching up with determination in his
eyes. “Pa, up!”
So Metis swung his grandson up to his lap and spent the rest of
dinner making polite if somewhat nonsensical conversation in reply to Malcolm’s
constant half-comprehensible chatter, resting his chin on the boy’s head with a
Malcolm sat before the fireplace in Josephine’s office, surrounded
by friends and family and brightly wrapped packages, but the cake took priority
over all else. Metis chuckled as the boy crumbled a honey-drenched wafer in his
hands before cramming it all at once into his mouth. Then he took a bite of his
own cake and his eyes widened at the taste of anise beneath all the honey.
Fenris, beside him, froze at the taste himself and turned to Hawke
in wonder. “You remembered.”
“Of course I did,” said a very smug Lisbet, eyes closed in delight
as she polished off the last of her portion. “And I wrote to Orana to see if
she could provide her recipe to Skyhold’s cook. It seemed an appropriate
tradition to continue with Malcolm.”
“Indeed it is,” Fenris smiled slightly, savoring the next bite of
his cake. He glanced over at Metis and explained, “My mother used to make a
cake like this on my birthdays. I…remember little else from my childhood, but
Hawke’s…” he hesitated, glancing at his wife.
“Housekeeper,” Lisbet suggested, helping herself to another of the
little cakes. “And miracle-worker, where kitchens are concerned.”
“Housekeeper,” Fenris nodded, “Orana, the first time I tried her
anise cakes, I remembered that much.”
Metis took another bite, licking honey from his lyrium-lined
fingertips. They were quiet now, at last, every last trace of crimson finally
cleansed from the channels, leaving behind only the pale white lines, stark and
delicate against his skin. “A birthday tradition, was it?”
“As often as she could find the spices for it, at least,” Fenris
“We used to trade plums for the anise on Seheron,” Metis recalled.
“There was a merchant who would travel through town every few months with the
best spices and a weakness for my plums. Maker, I haven’t had anything like
Mara’s anise cake in years.” He followed Lisbet’s lead, reaching for
another. “She put nuts in, sometimes. I never had as much success with nut
trees as with fruit, but one year we had pecans that ended up in everything
she baked.” He chuckled. “I may have stopped trying to grow nut trees
after that year.” He sighed with contentment. “It’s a good memory, Fenris, your
“Yes,” Fenris said without hesitation or elaboration, intent upon
the cake in his hand as he continued to slowly nibble at it as if to commit it
to memory anew.
“Good,” Metis said. “I’m glad you have some such.”
“Speaking of which,” said Lisbet, brushing crumbs from the newly
barely-visible swell of her belly and scooting closer to her father-in-law on
the rug, “we’ve something to ask of you, Metis.”
“Oh?” he raised an eyebrow, but did not withhold his grin as
Lisbet leaned into his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his elbow.
“Cole,” she announced, as Fenris, on his other side, looked up
with a sly smile, “has determined that baby number two is to be a girl.”
“We want,” said Fenris quietly, “to name her Mara. After my
“Oh,” said Metis, dumbstruck as the last of his cake crumbled in
his fingers. “Oh, child.” He brushed a kiss, sticky with honey, first to
Lisbet’s head (she giggled) and then to Fenris’ (he scowled, not without
warmth, and squeezed his father’s hand, only making it stickier). “Are you
asking my permission?” Metis wondered, glancing between them.
“Your opinion, perhaps?” Fenris glanced away.
“In my opinion, then,” said Metis, “you honor her. I would be
delighted to call my granddaughter by your mother’s name.”
“Presents!” went up a shout from across the room. “Enough cake.
Let the kid open his presents!” They looked up to see Varric picking one of the
packages out of the piles surrounding the birthday boy.
“Varric,” said Hawke, eyeing the shape of the package with
suspicion, “if you’re giving my one-year-old son a weapon…”
“What?” Varric shrugged as Malcolm toddled up to him to poke at
the yellow fabric wrapping the gift. “It’s just a toy, Hawke. And he’s got to
start learning sooner or later. He’s a Hawke, after all.”
“Hah!” Malcolm confirmed, pulling at the fabric to reveal a tiny
bow and arrows.
“He can barely even stand at this point, Varric!” Hawke laughed.
“Then learning to shoot will be motivation to learn to walk, won’t
Hawke scoffed, but Malcolm, waving the bow around in one chubby
fist, seemed pleased enough with the gift. Varric tried to show him how to pull
the string, until the child, still preferring to wave the whole bow around,
whacked the dwarf in the ear with it. Conceding defeat, Varric distracted the boy
with another package.
The celebration continued until Malcolm, losing interest in the
remaining gifts, suddenly crawled over to climb up in Hawke’s lap. “Oh, hello
there, dumpling!” she cooed. “I thought you’d forgotten all about your Mum
since Da got home.”
“Haaaaah,” he objected, cuddling up against her chest with his
thumb in his mouth, looking out through half-lidded eyes at the friends
“Don’t wear that name out,” she said, tucking her chin to his
head. “Someday, it’ll be yours.”
Malcolm had nearly drifted off to sleep when, a few minutes later,
Varric came to sit beside her. “So, Hawke,” he said, “I thought you should
know. I’m heading back to Kirkwall in a few days.”
“What, really?” Hawke glanced up. “Finally got enough material for
your Inquisitor Trevelyan story, have you?”
Varric chuckled. “Things are quieting down around here. Thayer can
manage without me at this point. But I left Kirkwall a mess, and it’s high time
I did something about that.”
“From what I saw, you were one of the few people doing anything about the mess.”
“And then I got dragged away to the Conclave,” he reminded her,
“leaving a lot of things undone.”
“And now it’s two years’ worth of things.”
“Aveline’s a force to be reckoned with, Hawke, but we’ve all left
her holding down the fort for too long. It’s time I went back.”
Hawke nodded, lips pressed thin in thought for a minute. Finally
she spoke, “You’re right about Thayer, I think. He can manage things here
“Us?” Varric’s eyebrows rose, as Hawke glanced over at Fenris.
Arms crossed over his knees, Fenris shrugged and gave her his
half-smile. “I am with you, Hawke.”
“You’re sure you don’t have your heart set on a full time
Inquisition career, my brave hero?” she asked.
“Seheron,” he answered, “was enough of that for a lifetime.”
Hawke looked back at Varric. “It’d be nice to give birth in my own
home this time. Provided there are proper midwives in Kirkwall? Can you
“Hawke,” Varric laughed, “if I have to I’ll put out a Merchant’s
Guild contract and have the finest midwives brought in from wherever you want.”
“That’s settled, then,” she smiled. “Fenris, let’s go home. I
think Orana’s been missing us.”
“I have missed her cooking,” Fenris smirked. Then he turned to his
father. “Metis, if you…We would…Kirkwall is far from your Circle, I know,
“What he means,” Hawke came to his rescue, “is, will you come with
us? There’s room for you in the estate. For Malcolm and Mara to grow up with
their grandfather near….”
“It would mean the world to us,” Fenris murmured. “But if you must
return to Tevinter…You were acting on your magister’s behalf, after all,
“And Mae will understand,” Metis chuckled. “She is my patron, not
“She’s also my cousin-in-law,” Varric reminded them, “and if I
know her, she’ll jump at the chance to have this agent of hers keeping
an eye on me.”
“Furthermore,” said Metis, “she can as easily ask my aid with a
letter to Kirkwall as to the Circle. After all these years, Fenris, nothing
would keep me from you.”
“Then it’s settled,” Fenris smiled.
“Paaaaa,” Malcolm agreed, suddenly leaning from Hawke’s lap to lie
half across Metis’ as well.
“That’s right, my dove,” said Hawke, brushing
the boy’s hair out of his eyes, “Pa is coming home with us.”